BLACK TUESDAY IN THE BAHAMAS(APRIL 27, 1965)
(Events inside and outside of The House of Assembly and aftermath of Black Tuesday are excerpts from "The Quiet Revolution" by Dame Dr. Doris Johnson.)
Possibly the greatest event in the movement towards Bahamian Independence was Black Tuesday. This event culminated in 1967 but started with the 1962 General Elections. The 1962 General Elections was the first elections where all Bahamians including women, were allowed vote: universal adult suffrage. Surprisingly, the United Bahamian Party won the elections over the PLP. The UBP had 21 seats and the PLP had 8. Roland Symonette became the country's first Premier. Historians have hypothesized as to why the PLP lost the elections despite overwhelming support from the majority of Bahamians. Firstly, the PLP complained of UBP job threats. Workers complained that they were threaten with being fired if they voted for the PLP. Also, the UBP campaigned on the grounds that they had done a good job of improving the Bahamian economy; and that change now would frighten the American tourists and investors who were just now coming back from the 1958 General Strike. The UBP suggested that the PLP were not knowledgeable enough to run the country and if the PLP were to gain control of the government, the economy would be ruined. Additionally, the PLP complained that the UBP had arranged the constituency boundaries in such a way as to give themselves an unfair advantage. This "fixing" of the constituency boundaries is called Gerrymandering. The PLP felt that the number of seats on the Family Islands (then called Out Islands) should be reduced because there were less people on the Family Islands. They also felt that the number of seats on New Providence should be increased.
These issues continued to be the topic of concern for the PLP until the debate reached a boiling point on April 27th...